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Air Training Corps 1034 Squadron - junior cadets?

5 years ago...

Can anyone remember the name and any other information re the junior cadet force that shared the ATC premises at 1034 Squadron?
I don't know much about it except that they wore a quasi-military uniform and think they were probably of a similar age range to the cubs.
Despite sharing the ATC premises I don't think it was necessarily an intro group for youngsters keen to join the ATC. Please correct me if this is wrong.

When I say shared I believe they had a separate hut on the ATC grounds.

In the late 60's early 70's, when I was in the ATC I think the leader was chap called Wiggins who rode around on a pretty ancient motorbike.

Comments

Surbiton Junior Cadet Corps was still running up to about 1980. The age group of cadets was about nine to eleven years old. The SJCC was in no way linked to the Army or ATC cadets. There was no progression within the body. Uniforms were worn on drill nights. The uniform consisted of an old British Army WW2 forage cap with a cap badge on top of a shaped piece of felt. The shape and colour of the felt was different for ranks. A kaki shirt was worn with a yellow necktie. Black trousers were worn with a 37-pattern WW2 webbing belt. Army boots were supplied and worn with old WW2 gaiters. The cadet was required to polish the gaiters and belt with black shoe polish. This along with the rest of the uniform was inspected at drill. Ranks above cadet were issued armbands with stripes. Those ranks included assistant section leader (one stripe) and section leader (two stripes). Due to the lack of cadets attending, there was usually only enough people to create one section; although in 1980 before the cadets were disbanded there were two sections along with an adult staff sergeant. Special sashes were awarded to cadets who turned out above standard during inspection. This was a yellow sash with tassels at the bottom, worn by the cadet for the following month.
Drill days were held during the week and on a Friday cadets attended without uniform to carry out things like handicraft and air rifle shooting. There was also slot car racing and other such things. Handicraft consisted of making papier-mâché puppets and hot air balloons. One of the more interesting things was indoor air rifle shooting. At one end of the drill hall an air rifle target was fixed to the wall. At the other end of the hall each cadet would lay in turn on a mattress supported on a table and shoot at the target, scores were noted and at the end of a period certificates were sometimes issued for achievement.
During drill days, physical training was carried out after drill. This included vaulting over an old gymnastics horse. There was also what was called “rough and tumble” which later came across as very suspicious behaviour from a person who was supposed to be in charge of young people attending.
At weekends there was a voluntary attendance for motorcycle mechanics. In the adjacent ATC headquarters was a lock up section where various motorcycles were kept. Some were owned by ATC cadets, but us junior SJCC cadets could attend and rode around the larger car park on the back of these ATC cadets bikes. During the session Wiggins would be working on various bikes, in particular an old BSA Bantam.
The person in charge, Wiggins, had a reputation for interfering with younger boys at the cadets. This was sometimes obvious from what was sometimes witnessed at the drill nights (referring back to the “rough and tumble” sessions). As younger children people never reported it to parents or others as most of the people assumed this was normal and put their trust in the adult organising the cadets.
This all came to an end when a summer holiday to Uckfield ended in reports getting back to parents. The Police became involved and the cadets came to an end. I never actually found out if Wiggins was arrested and charged for abuse. I was only ten years old at the time and was not directly involved in the incidents.
The junior cadets could have been something really good if the person running it had not abused his position. We tried to see if someone else could have carried on the corps, but that never came to anything.

In 1980 I regularly went to SJCC (Surbiton Junior Cadet Corps). It was indeed run by a man named Wiggins right up until late 1980.
During the week there would be a full uniform day which involved drill training. On Fridays there was indoor air rifle shooting and handicrafts. This all ended when Wiggins abused his responsibility with minors who attended the SJCC.
A few cadets were taken to his late father's house in Uckfield in 1980 for a weekend holiday. At the end of the weekend he ended up sexually abusing some of the cadets. It was reported to local police and he was investigated. Shortly afterward the SJCC was shut down. A few years later it was taken over by the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, but didn't last long. The old Cadet hut was demolished and now the land lays overgrown and abandoned. I can remember much about this time, and it never really goes away.

They were army cadets. And yes Wiggins was the group leader between 1970 - 1973 when I was with 1034 Squadron. Tony Cooper

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